As Christians, we often wonder how we can please the Lord. And we definitely ought to read Scripture with the expectation of learning how to bring pleasure to Him.
But Scripture also shows us that God has done things for the purpose of pleasing Himself. I don’t think about that idea nearly as much as I should, and I’m not sure many of us do. Thankfully, the two concluding verses of the magnificent passage we’ve been studying these past few weeks adjusts our attention back to to the truth that God does everything with the ultimate goal of pleasing Himself.
For the sake of context, let’s once again look at our passage as a whole before we talk about verses 19 and 20.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. ~~Colossians 1:15-20 (NASB)
Ooh — I love that passage! I get thrills and goosebumps just thinking about it, don’t you?
I’ll regain self-control, and take you to verse 19. As you can see for yourselves, even a cursory reading of this verse serves as an attestation to the deity of Christ. That’s the main reason I’m so enamored with this passage. I get thrilled by the doctrine of the Incarnation.
Rather than leave things there, however, I’d like to delve into the verse a little more deeply.
God was pleased, says the apostle Paul, to dwell in human form (see Colossians 2:9). To put it more specifically, the Father was pleased to have all the fullness of God dwell in the Son. In this brief sentence, Paul both attests to Christ’s deity and affirms the distinction between the Father and the Son. Isn’t it amazing that several doctrinal errors can be addressed in such a simple little verse?
Going further, in Christ all the fullness of God dwelt! Jesus wasn’t partially God; He is completely God incarnate. (See John 14:9 where Jesus told Phillip that those who have seen Him have seen the Father.) The Judaiers may have objected that Paul blasphemed God by suggesting that He would take on human flesh. The pre-gnostics most definitely would have found Paul’s words repugnant. So the apostle bravely takes on both false teachings simply by making a statement that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ.
Commenting on Colossians 1:19, Matthew Henry notes that, because all the fullness of God dwells in Christ, we have access to that fullness. That thought jabs at the pride of the pre-gnostics, who advocated the idea that higher knowledge required initiation into their mystical system. Paul redirects the Colossians back to Christ as the only Source for wisdom.
Paul continues describing how the Father pleased Himself through His Son in verse 20. This verse tells us that the Father took pleasure in reconciling all creation to Himself through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 describes this reconciliation.
Peace between God and His creation comes through His blood. Hebrews 2:17 explains that Christ’s human nature gave Him the empathy with us necessary to be a merciful High Priest Who actually could be the final propitiation for sin. Interestingly, His sinlessness kept His blood innocent so that He could make atonement for sin.
Not only does the blood of Christ reconcile us to the Father, but it reconciles all creation to Him. Romans 8:19-22 teaches that all creation lies broken under the curse of sin, waiting for that final act of redemption. The blood of Christ assures us that the reconciliation has already been accomplished. Ephesians 1:10 and Philippians 2:10 describe this reconciliation.
Today we’ve seen that the Father pleases Himself through His Son. Wonderously, in pleasing Himself, the Father makes it possible for His elect to have eternal pleasure worshiping the Lord! What a loving Father He is to find pleasure in giving us such a wonderful promise for eternity.
I have an appointment in Boston next Monday, so I hope to run next week’s Keys To Discernment study on Tuesday. At that time, we’ll look more closely at the reconciliation Christ accomplished between God and His people. Don’t forget to join me then.Follow my blog with Bloglovin